The upside (down) of death!
The subject of death is not usually taken quite so lightly, but across Surrey and Sussex, folk have been approaching it in some rather unusual ways. Meet the people who didn't take death lying down, as it were!
2) Major Peter Labelliere - Box Hill, near Dorking, Surrey
There may have been some dispute over whether John Oliver is meeting his maker the wrong way up, but in Major Labelliere's case there's none.
Had sandwiches been invented by the 4th Earl of, then Major Peter would have certainly been a picnic short of them. Slightly barking, to put it mildly, the officer of the Marines, who lived in Dorking, had lead a somewhat unhappy life.
He had fallen in love with one Hetty Fletcher, at an early age and, according to an early 19th-century book called "Promenade round Dorking" was eventually rejected.... "a circumstance which could not fail to inflict a deep wound on his delicate mind".
Box Hill by Tom Aspel, Dorking
He spent the end of his life at lodgings in South Street and died, as he had prophesied previously, in 1800. He was buried, at his request, upside down in a ten foot hole on the top of Box Hill. "As the world is turned upside down on Judgment Day," he said, "only he, would be correct way up".
Not content with that, he also asked that two of his landlady's children dance on his coffin, to show that funerals were not sombre affairs. Needless to say, that wasn't felt to be in the best possible taste and only the boy complied, while the little girl sat on the edge and watched.
There is a monument on the hill, said to be the spot where he is buried, but in fact, he is a few feet further down the slope. Still waiting patiently, upside down....
last updated: 21/02/2008 at 16:17
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